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Aggressive solicitors on Lathrop radar

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POSTED March 12, 2014 1:25 a.m.

That guy trying to sell you the vacuum that just simply won’t seem to take “no” for an answer?

He’s soon going to be a problem for Lathrop Police Services to deal with. 

After throwing the idea around for several months the Lathrop City Council voted 4-1 (Vice Mayor Omar Onrelas cast the lone dissenting vote) to institute tougher policies and streamline the process that gives door-to-door sales people the permission needed to operate in the community. 

Currently solicitors are required to obtain a license from City Hall in order to be able to operate in the community. Many companies require them to display that license along with a photo ID to any prospective customer as a way of building trust. 

But when complaints started rolling in that things were starting to get loud, abrasive and border-line physical the city attorney drafted language that will grant local police more authority and hopefully send a message to problem vendors that are muddying the waters for the legitimate ones. 

And when it goes down on paper, it becomes the rules. “Aggressive” solicitation – the exchange in which the person being solicited feels threatened in any way or at time feels that their personal belongings might not be safe – will no longer be tolerated. The decision will trickle down an extensive list from there – requiring that posted residences be kept away from and people who decline to be left alone. 

Part of what might make the matter challenging, however, is that people being brought up on lesser charges – unless those charges are being followed through by a city attorney or designated prosecutor – are often cut loose from the San Joaquin County Jail. Nonviolent criminals take a backseat to the current transformation taking place in California law enforcement and corrections. Property crimes are, as a result, rising. 

The ordinance, which was passed, will also restrict solicitation outside of businesses and in restaurants. It will give the police several tools that they can use at their disposal if they feel that the letter of the law is not being followed. 

Every couple of months Manteca gets barraged by aggressive sales teams – some of which come in from out of town – that prompts local enforcement to suggest basic tips to ensure safety. 

 

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